There was a peace in the courtyard of the hotel that he thought was gone from the world. A good strong pot of coffee wordlessly placed on his table, fresh fruit and fresh croissants, pristine white tablecloths under wide cerulean umbrellas which were in turn under a wide and cloudless azure sky.
He took his breakfast there every morning and, between sips of coffee, closed his eyes and listened for the not too distant sounds of the river—waves lapping ancient stone bridges, the lonely cries of sea birds.
She came to him as she did every day, in her crisp white blouse with the pearl buttons and her black pencil skirt. She had a blue scarf neatly tied at her neck, and she did not speak. She replaced the pot of coffee at the precise moment the first had become too cool.
Her hair was chocolate brown, her skin was a Mediterranean olive, and she was very beautiful. She was fine-boned, fragile, with a humble dignity and an aura of skill and professionalism. She, more than even the crispness of the newspaper and the tart finish of the very good coffee, made his morning ascend from mere loveliness to something nearing divinity.
Until the tourists came.
The family was multigenerational, garishly dressed, and cacophonous. The older three were brassy tuba guffaws. The younger three were trumpets of profanity and laughter. The two adolescents were flutes, flourishing through arpeggios of annoyance.
He removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose, mourning his perfect morning. Looking up, he saw the rich brown eyes of the woman in the white blouse empathize.
He gave her a tight-lipped smile of thanks and took his paper back up to his room.
After a long hot shower, he hoped long enough and hot enough to wash the ruined breakfast away, he heard a firm knock on his door. He tightened the belt of the almost obscenely thick robe and opened the door to find the woman standing primly, arms at her sides.
She, again, said nothing. She looked up at him, being nearly a foot shorter, and smiled kindly, raised a hand, and turning her palm, motioning to the inside of the room. It took him a moment to understand, but he stepped aside and let her enter, confused but intrigued.
She walked into the bathroom, which was still densely fogged with steam. She looked over her shoulder at him, and he followed her, feeling a strange intimacy being in the impressively large, but still private, space.
She raised a hand to his face, and he suppressed the strange reaction to flinch. She rubbed his cheek, her hand smooth and cool, her thumb against the bristles of his stubble. He leaned into her touch. He was hers in that moment.
“May I shave you, sir?” she said in almost a whisper.
He’d heard her voice before, but not in a while. She had a rather high sweet voice with traces of a British education. She sounded younger than he remembered, but looking at her closely, he saw she was perhaps twenty-five. Her seriousness gave her the gravitas of someone much older.
He nodded affirmatively.
A single droplet of sweat beaded on her forehead, the bathroom being uncomfortably warm from the shower. She turned on the faucet of the sink and pressed the chrome handle of the stopper. As the large basin filled with water, her hands went to her pearl buttons.
He watched her in the half opaque steamed mirror. She undressed adeptly, removing each article of her clothing, folding them neatly, and placing them next to the neat pile of towels. Her skin looked darker in contrast to the light brown of her untanned breasts and the triangle of her mons. Her breasts were large for her frame, aureoles unexpectedly puffy and nipples thick.
She turned off the water and scanning his supplies neatly arraigned on the counter above the sink. She took his heavy nickel badger brush and soaked the bristles. She then opened the small pot which contained his shaving creme and twirled the brush in the thick white soap.
She put the soapy brush to the side and soaked a hand towel in the hot water, bringing it to his face. He closed his eyes and let himself sit down on the commode. She leaned down, slowly rubbing the cloth over his skin.
He opened his eyes as she brought the brush to his cheek and expertly applied the shaving creme.
Though there was a solemnity to the undertaking, his eyes were unable to escape the loveliness of her form. As she lathered him, his hand moved slowly to her thigh. She took no notice. He shivered at the smoothness of her leg, and his heart raced a little as he ran his fingers from her knee to her hip.
She put down the brush and took his safety razor from the porcelain. The metal glinted in her perfectly manicured hands, her nails a dark burgundy and her fingers small and delicate.
She had obviously shaved men before. He wondered if it was her father or a lover. Her strokes were economic, precise, and quick. He knew that with the blade at his neck, it was perhaps not the best time, but his fingers moved to her inner thighs, and he smiled a little as she opened her legs slightly to accommodate his exploration.
As she continued, he felt the soft manicured patch of hair between her legs and sighed.
She paused, and her hips shifted slightly, pushing his fingers into the neat slit, his touch meeting wetness. Then she finished the last few bits of soapy skin, moving to soak the towel once more and clean off his face.
He looked up at her, and she smiled as she put a cool towel against his reddened cheeks and then dripping some of his aftershave into her cupped palm. She rubbed his neck and face, and he relished the bracing sting.
She massaged his face firmly, then moved her hands to his neck. She massaged his shoulders and neck and then straightened the collar of the robe and stepped back to examine her work.
“Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?” she said, her voice a little deeper.
He pondered then the exact boundaries of her visit. He wondered if it was some penance for the disturbance of his breakfast. Looked from her angelic face to her generous breasts, to the curve of her hips, he thought it would be most disrespectful to deny her atonement.
“Yes,” he said, his tongue thick and his voice unsteady.
“I’ll need you in the bedroom now,” he explained, and she nodded obediently.
“May I take your robe?” she asked politely.
He stared at her, his eyes growing slightly hard, and the silence of the moment seemed to echo in the white tile room.
“Sir?” she added, correcting her lapse in protocol.
“Yes, thank you,” he said, standing.
She pulled at the knot in his belt, then slipped the robe off his shoulders, letting it fall to the floor. She moved towards him, his erection sliding against the softness of her skin as she kissed his collar bone and look up into his eyes.
She took his hand and led him to his bedroom where, as with all things, her performance exceeded his expectations.